Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This Day, February 1, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

February 1

682:  Visigoth King Erwig pressed for the "utter extirpation of the pest of the Jews," and made it illegal to practice any Jewish rites in an area that corresponds to much of modern day Spain. This put further pressure on the Jews to convert or emigrate

1119: Callixtus II began his papacy. In 1120, Calixtus II issued the first of the bulls called “Sicut Judaeis” (As the Jews) which in his case was intended to protect Jews from the consequences of the First Crusade “during which over five thousand Jews were slaughtered in Europe.”

1225: Today “a papal order was issued granting certain commercial privileges to a Jewish merchant named Sabbatinus Museus Salaman, who is mentioned as the business associate of several Romans in the Papal States and in Sicily.”

1593: For the 17th time since 1592, Lord Strange’s Men performed “The Jew of Malta.”

1605: Birthdate of Aboab de Fonseca, the Portuguese born Dutch Rabbi and Mystic.  In 1642, when Brazil was under Dutch control the 600 Jews of Recife established a synagogue where they could worship in public.  They recruited de Fonseca, who was living in Amsterdam, to come to Brazil and serve as their Hocham or spiritual leader.  This means that Aboab de Fonseca was the first congregational rabbi in the New World. In 1654, when the Portuguese defeated the Dutch and seized Recife, he joined a group of Jews returning to the Netherlands and successfully said back to Amsterdam. Aboab was held in high esteem by his former Amsterdam congregants, that he was reappointed as hocham in the synagogue and made teacher in the city’s Talmud Torah, principal of its yeshiva and member of the city’s bet din, or rabbinic court. He died in 1693 at the age of 88, having served the Jewish community of Amsterdam for 50 years after his return from Recife. While Aboab spent his final years as a man of letters, engaged in teaching and spiritual contemplation, “the adventuresome Isaac Aboab de Fonseca had been, from 1642 to 1654, America’s first rabbi, first Hebrew poet and a man who risked his life for Jewish religious freedom.” (One can only wonder what would have happened if Aboab had joined the group of Jews who left Recife in 1654 and ended up in New Amsterdam.  Would he have been the first rabbi in New York/)

1627: Rodrigo de Castro, the Lisbon born physician who escaped the Inquisition by moving to Antwerp with his family and the moving on to Hamburg when the Spanish re-took the Netherlands passed away today after which he was “buried in the cemetery of the Jewish-Portuguese congregation of Altona.”

1682(5442):  Asser Levy, the "founding father" of North American Jewry passed away.. He was survived by his wife Miriam (aka Maria). Though Levy and the "Levy" family of New York are thought of as Sephardic with roots in Holland and even further roots in Spain, he might have been the son of Benjamin Levy, an Ashkenazi shochet from Recife, Brazil.

1733: King Augustus II of Poland passed away.  Born in 1670, Augustus II was the Elector of Saxony (Germany) before gaining Augustus gained the Polish throne.  His rise to power was facilitated by his “court Jew” and financier Issachar Berend Lehmann. August II was a contemporary of the Besht who was making his public personna known at about the same time as the Polish King passed away.

1765(10th of Shevat, 5525): Rebecca Mendez Furtado, the first wife of Benjamin D’Israeli, the grandfather of his more famous namesake, passed away today.

1796: The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York. Jews did not settle in Canada until the British defeated the French in 1760, at which time the French ban on Jewish settlement in the area became null and void.  By the time of this move, the Jews had already built their first synagogue, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal also known as Shearith Israel which was established in 1768.

1798(15th of Shevat, 5558): Tu B’Shevat

1799: The French army under Napoleon left for Palestine to forestall a Turco-British invasion through the Palestinian land-bridge.

1809: This evening, in Charleston, SC, Mary Joseph married Levi Moses.

1810(27 Shevat 5570): Rabbi Mechel Scheuer passed away. He was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1739.  His father was Rabbi David Tebele Scheuer and he led his father's Yeshiva in Mainz as its Rosh Yeshiva during the years 1776 and 1777. In 1778 he became rabbi of Worms and in 1782 was appointed rabbi of Manheim. At the time of his death, he was the rabbi of Coblence.

1813The Common Council of New York City passed an ordinance restricting the right to sell kosher meat to butchers licenses by Congregation Shearith Israel.

1823: Birthdate date of Simon Bacher, a descendant of Jair Hayyim Bacharach the 17th century rabbi at worms and the Maharal of Prague, the “Hungarian Neo-Hebraic Poet” who served as treasurer of the Jewish community of Budapest from 1876 until his death in 1891.

1827: In Paris James Mayer de Rothschild and Betty de Rothschild, the daughter of Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (Austrian Branch) gave birth to Alphonse de Rothschild, French banker, philanthropist and member of the French branch of the fabled Rothschild family whose wife Leonora was from the English House of Rothschild.

1828: Birthdate of Meyer Guggenheim the Swiss born patriarch of the Guggenheim family who came to the United States in 1847.

1836: Birthdate of Francis Lewis Cardozo, the Charleston, SC native who was the son of Lydia Weston, a free black woman and Isaac a Sephardic (Portuguese) Jews.

1839: Birthdate of James A. Herne who staged the first American production of Israel Zangwill’s “The Children of the Ghetto.

1840: In what would be the opening of the Damascus Blood Libel, “Father Thomas, a Roman Catholic priest and a” long-time resident of Damascus “suddenly disappeared today.

1842: In Bavaria, Rav Yitzchak Dov Halevi Bamberger ZT"L the Würzburger Rav and Kela Bamberger gave birth to Rabbi Nathan Bamberger of Würzburg

1844: Birthdate of Ernst Immanuel Cohen Brandes, the Danish economist.

1854: In Posen, Prussia, Dr. Marcus Mosse, a German born physician and his wife Ulrike Mosse  gave birth to Emil Mosse

1856: Auburn University is chartered as the East Alabama Male College. Today Auburn has 60 Jewish students out of an undergraduate population of 19,000 students.  Auburn does not offer Jewish studies classes but does have a Hillel Chapter.  

1860: Rabbi Morris Raphall becomes the first Jewish clergyman to open a session of the House of Representatives. Raphall’s son-in-law would serve in the Union Army and after he had committed some unspecified infraction, Lincoln pardoned him. Raphall’s letter thanking Lincoln is still in existence today.

1861: Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise published an article in The Israelite entitled “No Political Preaching” in which he explained why he had refrained from preaching a sermon on January 4, 1861.  President James Buchanan had designated that date “‘as a day of feasting and prayer, that God might have mercy upon us and save this Union.’” [This was just about the only action that Buchanan took to preserve the Union!]

1862(1st of Adar I, 5622): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

1862: The will of Samuel Samuels was admitted to probate today.  According to the terms of the will, Samuels left $100 to the Jewish congregation, "Bnai Jeshurun," on Greene-street, and $100 for the benefit of the Orphan Asylum under the charge of the Hebrew Benevolent Society.

1865: “A new law abolished the compulsion for Jews to enroll with one of Hamburg's two statutory Jewish congregations, so the members of the New Israelite Temple Society were free to found their own Jewish congregation.

1865: In Newark, NJ, founding of Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society whose members included Bernard Strauss, Reuben Trier, Joseph Goetz and G. J. Kempe which held its meetings on the first Thursday of each month.

1868(8th of Shevat, 5628): Isaac Leeser passed away. Born in 1806, he “was an American Jewish minister of religion, author, translator, editor, and publisher; pioneer of the Jewish pulpit in the United States, and founder of the Jewish press of America. He produced the first Jewish translation of the Bible into English to be published in the United States. He is considered one of the most important American Jewish personalities of the nineteenth century America.”

1872(22nd of Shevat, 5632): Fifty-three year old Polish born German actor Bogumil Dawison whose signature roles included Mark Antony, Hamlet, Richard III and King Lear, passed away in Dresden.

1873: Birthdate of historian Israel Zinberg “best known for his nine-volume History of the Literature of the Jews which was published in Vilnus starting in 1929.


1874: In Vienna Anna Maria Josefa Fohleutner and an Austrian–Italian bank manager, Hugo August Peter Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal gave birth to Austrian “man of letters” Hugo Laurenz August Hofmann von Hofmannsthal, the great-grandson of Isaak Löw Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal, “a Jewish merchant ennobled by the Austrian emperor.”

1878: George Cruikshank the British illustrator who created “Fagan” in his cell passed away.

1879: It was reported today that the Purim Association of New York will resume hosting a masked ball after a hiatus of 10 years.   The ball is scheduled to be held on Purim night.

1879: Wilhelm Marr, the man who popularized the term “anti-Semitism” published his pamphlet “Der Weg zum Siege des Germanenthums über das Judenthum” (The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism. Toward the end of his life he would publish “Testament of an Antisemite” in which he would renounce the view that the Jews were the corrupters of German and European civilization.

1880: In St. Louis, the Young Men's Hebrew Association was organized.

1882: “Early in the course of the Russian persecutions a mass-meeting of New York's most representative citizens was held at Chickering Hall” today.

1882: In London a meeting was held at Mansion House which resulted in the creation of a fund of more than “£108,000 for the relief of Russo-Jewish refugees” in the United Kingdom

1883: Theodore Hoffman was arrested this evening and charged with the murder of Zife Marks, a Jewish peddler whose body had been on the road outside of Port Chester, NY.  (Hoffman would eventually be found guilty and executed for the murder.)

1885(16th of Shevat, 5645): Peretz Smolenskin, the Russian born Jewish novelist whose works in Hebrew including A Wander on the Path of Life (Ha-toeh be-darkhe ha-Hayyim, התועה בדרכי החיים) passed away today.


1886: Dr. Solomon Eppinger retired from Hebrew Union College and was succeeded by David Davidson.

1886: H.U.C. conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity on Aaron Hahn.

1887: Birthdate of Harry Scherman, American economist, author and co-founder of the Book of the Month Club.

1891: In Brooklyn, Philip Schmalheiser and the former Rose Lewin gave birth to Edward Schmalheiser  who as Edward Small carved out a fifty year career producing movies and television shows that ranged in quality from such classics as “The Count of Monte Cristo” to the highly forgettable “Ramar of the Jungle.”

1897: As of this date, the officers of the United Hebrew Charities of the City of New York say they will no long be able to respond to all of the demands of the needy without additional funds.  They received 250 applications a day, many of which come from people who have never applied before and they need at least $15,000 just to provide minimal aid.

1890: Mrs. Moses Gersohnfeldt and her four young children ranging in age from two to eleven continue to languish in the custody of the immigration authorities because the Immigration Commissioner has decided that they might become pubic charges despite the fact that her husband and oldest son have come forth and shown that they are employed and earning enough money to see to it that they are properly cared for.

1890: “Castle Garden’s Autocrat” published today described Commissioner Edmund Stephenson’s capricious and semi-dictatorial control over the lives of immigrants, including Jews escaping the Czar’s tyranny, to whom he showed distinct hostility.

1891: It was reported today that Mr. Rheinherz an agent of the United Hebrew Charities was among those who testified before the Congressional Committee investigating the operation of the Barge Office which was the main immigrant processing center in New York City.

1891: In Brooklyn,Austrian-born Philip Schmalheiser and Prussian-born Rose Lewin” gave birth to Edward Schmalheiser who gained fame as movie producer Edward Small.

1892: It was reported today that Moritz Cohn, Morris Hertz, Max Jacob, Ignatz Boskowitz, Henry Rice and Simon L. Duetsch had served as pall bearers at the funeral of Benjamin Russak.

1893(15th of Shevat, 5653): Tu B’Shevat

1893: “Theatrical Gossip” published today described the success of “The Girl I Left Behind Me” which is being produced by Charles Frohman at the Standard Theatre.

1895: It was reported today that the Federation of East Side Workers “consisting of the pastors, priests and rabbis of the churches and congregations in New York south of 14th Street and east of Broadax…expresses its grateful appreciation to the chairman and members of the Tenement House Committee…” (Compare the active, positive role played by Rabbis in the United States with the anti-Semitism found at the same time in Russia, Germany and France).

1897: “The Future of Palestine” published today provided the views of Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil’s views on the Jewish settlement in this part of the Ottoman Empire.  Gottheil contended the Jews could again become “agriculturists” and that Palestine could “support a large agricultural and industrial population.”

1897: “Harm Done By Alarmists” published today includes the views of Rabbi Gustav Gottheil who expressed his sympathy for the working man, opposition to Socialism and defense of the expendiures of the wealthy as exemplified by the upcoming Bradley Martin-Ball

1897: It was reported today that Dr. Emil G. Hirsch said the work of  the Jewish charities in Chicago has been complicated by the problems created by the influx of Jews flee the Czar who have taken “refuge in the larger cities of America.”

1897: It was reported today the delegates attending the Jewish Socialists Convention had voted to start a newspaper of their own after the managers of the Abendblatt, a Jewish socialist paper that had been founded in 1894, had made known their decision not relinquish control of the paper.

1899: It was reported today that Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil of Columbia University read a “paper by Albert Ulmann on the Jews in New York during the Dutch colonial period. Mr. Ulmann gave as the earliest date when Jews this city as 1652, when some Jewish farmers were sent over from Holland to serve a year’s time a soldiers…”  He also “described the fight the Jews had to make against the religious bigotry of Stuyvesant.”  

1899: “Dr. Gottheil’s Successor” published today relied on information that first appeared in the New York Tribune to report that Dr. Gustav Gottheil is preparing to retire after serving as Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El for the past 25 years and that went to provide a brief history of the Reform movement in the United States.

1901: A Memorial Service for Queen Victoria was held at the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Samuel Salant officiated at the service which was so well attended that local police were called to control the crowd. 

1902(24th of Shevat, 5662): Seventy-year old Salomon Jadassohn, the German pianist and composer whose career suffered because he would not convert which meant he could not get many church related commissions and because of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the second half of the 19th century passed away today.

1904:  Birthdate of Sidney Joseph Perelman. Better known as S. J. Perelman, he was a humorist, author, and screenwriter. He is primarily known for his humorous short pieces written over many years for The New Yorker magazine. His most famous cinematic venture was writing the script for the Academy Award-winning screenplay Around the World in Eighty Days starring David Niven.

1905: In Tivoli, Italy, Giuseppe Segrè, a businessman who owned a paper mill, and Amelia Susanna Treves, Emilio Segre, the Italian born physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1959.

1906: It was reported today that five persons have been executed in the Citadel at Warsaw, “bringing the number shot in the past fortnight to sixteen” fifteen of whom “were Jews.”

1910: Birthdate of Michael Kanin, the native of Rochester, NY who shared an Oscar with Ring Lardner Jr for writing the script for Woman of the Year” and was nominated along with his wife Fay for an Oscar for the script for “Teacher’s Pet.”

1913(24th of Shevat, 5673): Sixty-two year old newspaper correspondent Leon Strauss passed away at Turin, Italy.

1915: A dispatch from the London Daily News datelined Cairo, based, in part on reports from “Vladimir Jabotinsky, a well-known Moscow journalist” describes the deteriorating conditions faced by the Jews living under Ottoman rule in Eretz Israel.  Mr. Jabotinksy “entertains the graves fears for the safety of the 15,000 colonists in Galilee, Judea and Samaria should the Turkish army in Syria” suffer a defeat since the Turkish government will blame it on the Jews.  The government “is doing its utmost to stir up feelings against the Zionists.  The Turks have declared Zionism to be a revolutionary, anti-Turkish movement “which must be stamped out.”  The Anglo-Palestine bank has been liquidated which will lead to ruin for many of the Jewish settlers.  A large number of Jewish refugees have fled to Alexandria among them “1,000 young men who have have declared their eagerness to join the British army.”  The report closes with expression of concern for the 5,000 Jews and 12,000 Christians living in Jerusalem who are trying to survive on American relief supplies described as “insufficient to maintain life.”

1915: William Fox (born Wilhelm Fuchs) founded the Fox Film Corporation today.

1915: In response to a petition from the counsel of Leo M Frank who is under sentence of death for the murder of a factory girl in Atlanta, in 1913, The United States Supreme Court advanced the on his case to February 23; an action  to which the state of Georgia has assented.

1915: “Plan to Pursue Frank” published today described the plans of the prosecution to indict Leo Frank on one or two other unspecified charges if he his appeal to the Supreme Court overturn the murder conviction thus granting him his freedom.”

1916: “Dr. Joseph Jacobs” published today bemoaned the fact that New York “city and the world of letters as a whole has lost a brilliant and versatile writer” who found “few subjects…with which his mind and his pend di not busy themselves…with an even uniformity of erudite scope and depth.”
1916: As of today, the American Jewish Relief” is reported to nearing its goal of two million dollars having collected $1,815,737.33 in cash and pledges.

1916: Dotty Hammer who had “volunteered her services for Jewish Relief Day” wrote from Newark, NJ today to express her “heartfelt respect as well as admiration for all those who gave because they felt that in a time of grief and dire need religion was no barrier.”

1917: Supreme Court Justice Cohalan granted the “right of incorporation” “o the Association for the Promotion of Sabbath Observance which works “to develop among its members and others a clear conception and understanding of Orthodox Jewry” including observing the Sabbath on Saturday. (Editor’s Note: This came at a time when the Reform movement was trying to shift observance of Shabbat to Sunday)

1917: In the wake of Germany’s announcement of unrestricted submarine Felix Warburg, Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee expressed the concern that worsening relations with Germany would impede the war relief work in eastern Europe which is under the control of Germany and that contributions to aid those suffering from the war would fall off just when the need was greatest.

1917: “At Warren Street, in the Portobello area of Dublin, Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe Henry Levitas and Leah Rick who had been married in the Camden Street Synagogue gave birth to Maurice “Morry” Leviatis the political activist who took part in the “Battle of Cable Street” and who “became a senior lecturer in the sociology of education at Durham University.

1918: The Jewish Congress decided to “raise money to repatriate Galician Jews stranded in or around the city” of Berdichev.

1918: Russia adopted the Gregorian Calendar. Russia’s comparatively late adoption of the calendar used by most of the western world makes precise dating of certain events all the more difficult.

1918: “The Jewish National Fund received a check for 250,000 crowns from an anonymous woman” which was “to be cashed after peace” ended the World War.

1918: “As a result of a series of conferences, Dutch Jewish leaders formulate” a list of demands “to be presented at the peace conference including emancipation of the Jews; recognition of national rights in nation states; national concentration of Jewish people in Palestine; the cessation of contemptuous and oppressive treatment of Jews.”

1918: In Edinburgh, Sarah Elizabeth Maud (née Uezzell) and Bernard Camberg, an engineer gave birth to Muriel Sarah Camberg who gained as award-winning Scottish novelist Dame Muriel Spark.

1918(19th of Shevat, 5678): Gaston Lelouch, the recipient of the War Cross died today.

1918(19th of Shevat, 5678)

1918: In Berdichev, “the Jewish Congress decided to raise money to repatriate Galician Jews stranded in or around the city.

1919: The First Congress of the Muslim-Christian Association began its deliberations in Jerusalem.

1920: Thirty-nine “Turkish elders of the Sephardi Community formed the Sephardic Community of Los Angeles” today which became known as the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel.

1921 First German translation of The International Jew

1923: Birthdate of Canadian businessman Benjamin Weider who “was the co-founder of the International Federation of Body Building and Fitness (IFBB).”

1923: “A Glass of Water,” a “German silent historical film” with a script co-authored by Adolf Lantz was released today.

1924: Automobile magnet Henry Ford who bankrolled the anti-Semitic Dearborn Independent which published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion entertained Nazi Kurt Ludecke at his Michigan home.

1924: Frederick Salomon van Nierop, the son of A.S. Nierop and Rachel Salvador, who was a director of the Amsterdam Bank and was a member of both the Amsterdam City Council and the Provincial Council of North Holland was buried today in the Jewish cemetery in Muiderberg.

1925: Today, Sophie Udin and six other women who had been active in the labor Zionist organization Poale Zion, created the Pioneer Women’s Organization of America which was renamed Pioneer Women in 1947 and Na'amat (a Hebrew acronym for "Movement of Working Women and Volunteers") USA in 1981.

 1925: WMCA which Peter Straus took over in the late 1950’s began regular transmissions today.

1927(29th of Shevat, 5687): Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (Nathan Zevi Finkel) the native of Lithuania known as the Alter of Slabodka passed away in Jerusalem

1928: Birthdate of Representative Tom Lantos, the California Democrat who took his seat in Congress in 1981 and is the only survivor of the Holocaust serving in Congress.

1928: “The Prince of Rogues,” a silent film directed by Curtis Bernhardt who co-authored the script was released today in Germany.

1928: Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Mitchell May, a Jewish Democratic Party leader and friend of movie mogul Harry Cohn officiated at the wedding of movie director Frank Capra and Lucille Warner, the daughter of Myron Warner.

1929: “The Broadway Melody,” “the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture produced by Irving Thalberg and Lawrence Weingarten premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

1930: Birthdate of Ping Pong or Table Tennis Champion, Marty Reisman.

1932: Birthdate of Batsheva Esther Eliashiv, the Jerusalem native who was the daughter of Rabbi Shalom Elisahiv and who became Rebbetzin Batsheva Esther Kanievskey when she married Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.

1934: Hyman G. Enelow became rabbi emeritus of Temple Emanu-El on New York.

1935: At the annual convention of the Palestine Jewish Farmers Federation, Moshe Smilansky, veteran farmer economist, poet, writer and journalist, shocked the assembled gathering when in his opening address as president he announced that in the present circumstances in Palestine Jewish farmers and colonists should employ only Jewish labor.

1936(8th of Shevat, 5695): Parashat Bo

1936: Rabbi Jacob Tarshish is scheduled to deliver a sermon “How Can We Find Happieness?” at Temple B’nai Jeshurun

1936: English historian Dr. Cecil Roth is scheduled to lecture on “Will Hitlerism Spread?” this morning at Temple Rodeph Sholom.

1936: Rabbi Milton Sternberg is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Does Morality Require Religion?” at Park Avenue Synagogue.

1936: “Rudolf Saudek, a well-known Leipzig Jewish sculptor and a Czechoslovak citizen protested through the Czechoslovak Legation in Berlin against a ruling by the Reich Chamber of Culture forbidding him to make tombstone for Jewish graves” – a business he went into after the Reich government had ended his career sculpting busts, many of which had been placed in the local university and libraries.

1937: In Washington, DC Secretary of State Cordell Hull met with a delegation representing the Arab National League which expressed the hope that the United States “will turn a sympathetic ear to the voice of the Arabs of Palestine.”

1937: It was reported that the junior division of the United Palestine Appeal has adopted a resolution urging Great Britain to permit Jews from Germany, Poland and other parts to Europe to immigrate to Palestine without any interruption.

1938: U.S. premiere of “Mad About Music” directed by Norman Rae Taurog and produced by Joe Pasternak.

1938: In Rumania, the Finance Ministry’s Alcohol Department has demanded that the licenses of Jewish innkeepers be restored following an investigation into the unfounded claims of Prime Minster Goga that the Jewish innkeepers were “poisoning the nation.”

1938: In Berlin, the Ministry of the Interior published a new law today empowering “German courts to revoke previous rulings permitting Jews to changes their names” which means that “a Jew who changed his name years ago can be compelled to resume his original names.

1938: The German government published a decree officially notifying banks “that any company that has one Jewish director” or in which Jews have a 25 per cent ownership stake “must be classified as a Jewish concern.”

1938: A court in Westphalia issued a decision “denying a license to sell intoxicating liquor to a café proprietor whose family had social relations with a Jewish family.”

1938: The funeral for “Eugene H. Paul who was for forty-eight years connected with Kuhn, Loeb” and “a leader in Jewish philanthropic circles” in New York City is scheduled to “be held at Temple Home” this morning followed by burial in Mount Neboh City.

1941: Prime Minister Churchill instructed his Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, to send a warning to Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu telling him “that we will hold him and immediate circle personally responsible in life and limb” if the Iron Cross did not stop their murderous attacks on the Jews.

1943: Most of the 1,500 Jews remaining in Buczacz who had not been sent to Belzac were murdered. One survivor, Netka Goldberg, lost three sisters, two brothers and her mother. Her father would be killed seven months later.

1946: Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations. Lie was head of the U.N. when Israel was created and was supportive of creating the Jewish state.

1947:  Birthdate of American television journalist Jessica Savitch.

1947: In Nicosia, Cyprus Bronia Rosenberg, originally from Łódź, and a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and Fishel Brand, from Biłgoraj, who had been a resistance fighter during World War II gave birth to Moshé Michaël Brand who gained fame as Israeli “pop star” Mike Brant.

1948: The Arabs bombed the Palestine Post (a.k.a. Jerusalem Post) building in Jerusalem

1950(14th of Shevat, 5710): French sociologist. Marcel Mauss passed away.

1951: During the Presidency of Harry Truman, Monnett B. Davis was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

1951(25th of Shevat, 5711): Seventy four year old Annie Morris, the wife of Hyman Morris, the first Jewis Lord May of Leeds, passed away today.

1952: “Invitation” based on “the short story ‘R.S.V.P.’ by Jerome Weidman, directed by Gottfried Reinhardt, produced by Lawrence Weingarten and featuring Ruth Roman and Michael Checkhov was released in the United States today.

1952: SN (Samuel Nathaniel) Behrman's "Jane" premiered in New York City.  Behrman, was a popular and prolific dramatist who tackled a number of topics in his works including what it was like to grow up Jewish in a small town as the 19th gave way to the 20th century.

1953: CBS broadcast the first television episode of “You Are There” which had originally been created for radio by Goodman Ace and whose directors included Sidney Lumet.

1955: Lord Rothschild wrote to Churchill “thanking him for the fact that in Jerusalem in 1921 ‘you laid the foundation of the Jewish State by separating Abdullah’s Kingdom from the rest of Palestine.  Without this much-opposed prophetic foresight there would not have been an Israel today.’”

1956: In the UK, ITV broadcast the first episode of “Colonel March of Scotland Yard” produced by Hannah Weinstein.

1958: Egypt and Syria announced plans to merge into United Arab Republic.  This was one of those failed attempts at pan-Arabism that was really a military alliance designed to destroy Israel.  The U.A.R. was neither united or a real republic.  The Syrians pulled out in 1961, but the name lingered on for many years after.

1959(23rd of Shevat, 5719): Rabbi Jonah Bondi Wise passed away. He “was an American Rabbi and leader of the Reform Judaism movement, who served for over thirty years as rabbi of the Central Synagogue in Manhattan and was a founder of the United Jewish Appeal, serving as its chairman from its creation in 1939 until 1958.”

1959(23rd of Shevat, 5719): “Three civilians were killed by a landmine near Moshav Zavdiel”

1963: Publication of the first issue of The New York Review which Barbara Epstein helped to found with the encouragement of her husband, “Jason Epstein, a vice president at Random House.”

1964: Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics won his “800th game as an NBA coach” today. (As reported by Bob Wechsler)

1965: “Kelly” a musical with songs by Mark Charlap “began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre today.

1966: In “The Trefa Banquet” published today John J. Appel described the 19th century Cincinnati affair where shellfish were part of the menu.

1968:  Birthdate of comedic actor Pauly Shore best known for his role in “Encino Man.”

1969:  Birthdate of jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman son of a legendary jazz musician and Jewish dancer from Russia.

1969: Birthdate of publisher Andrew Breitbart, the adopted “of son of Gerald and Arlene Breitbart, a restaurant owner and banker respectively” whose Jewish upbringing included a Bar Mitzvah and a life-long identity with the Jewish people.

1967: In New York, as part of their confrontation with the unionized bagel bakers, owners shut the doors to their bakeries claiming “that they did not have enough work.”

1970(25th of Shevat, 5730): Dorothy Horowitz Germber, the wife of the late Newcomb Gerber passed away today in Clifton, NJ.

1970: Oil was pumped for the first time in the newly completed 42 inch Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline

1970: The New York Times includes a review of Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow.

1976: "Rich Man, Poor Man" mini-series based on the work of Irwin Shaw, premieres on ABC TV.

1977(13th of Shevat, 5737): Seventy-four year old Warsaw native Samuel Arthur “Sammy” Weiss the first Jew to be named captain of the Duquesne University football team who went on “to represent Pennsylvania's 30th, 31st, and 33rd Districts in the United States House of Representatives” before serving as a Common Pleas Court Judge passed away today after which he was buried at B’nai Israel Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

1978: Director Roman Polanski skipped bail and fled to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.  The father of the Polish born director was Jewish.  His mother died in a concentration camp.  Polanski avoided being trapped in the ghetto and spent the war wandering the woods of Poland.

1979: The first staging of “Fugue in a Nursery” by Harvey Fierstein opened at LaMama today.

1979: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile.  This marked a major turning point in the Islamic world as religious fundamentalists began coming to power.  There are those who would say that there is a direct line between the success of Khomeini and the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections in 2006. After 28 years, Iran boasts a leader who denies the Holocaust happened and calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

1980: “Fatso” a comedy featuring Estelle Reiner as “Mrs. Goodman” was released in the United States today.

1980: The last public interview given by Sir Cecil Beaton, who had been fired by Conde Nast in the 1930’s for slipping an anti-Semitic message into one of his drawings, was broadcast by the BBC today.

1984: Daniel Stern became NBA commissioner. Jews seem to gravitate to the position since at one point the commissioners of most major sports were Jewish: Commissioner of Major League Baseball: Bud Selig, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association: David Stern and Commissioner of the National Hockey League: Gary Bettman. According to one Urban Legend, there was a move to get Commissioner of the National Football League: Paul Tagliabue to convert to Judaism so that it would be four for four! 

1985: Morton I. Abramowitz began serving as President Reagan’s Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

1985: In Leadville, CO, The Harvey/Martin Construction Company convey the Temple Israel property to William H. Copper whose family trust would convey it to the Temple Israel Foundation

1988: Two Palestinians were shot dead today near Anabta in a confrontation on the Nablus road north of Jerusalem that involved demonstrators and settlers. Military authorities said settlers were trapped at roadblocks by stone throwers and drew their guns and opened fire. Soldiers also shot at the demonstrators. Another account said a convoy of 75 settlers returned when the trouble subsided and vandalized a score of Arab cars.

1989(26th of Shevat,5749): Eighty-nine year old Marie Syrkin, an author, editor and teacher who was active in the Zionist cause for many decades, died of cancer today at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. (As reported by Glenn Fowler)

1991(17th of Shevat, 5751): Eighty-two year old Herzl Rosenblum who served as editor of Yedioth Ahronoth for 35 years and who signed Israel’s declaration of independence as Herzl Vardi passed away today.

1991: “Vandals attacked the Lomita, CA home of Dr. Shlomo Elspas, the executive governor of Chabad South Bay today “spray-painting a swastika and the slogan ‘white power’ on it.”

1992(27th of Shevat, 5752): U.S. District Court Judge Irving R Kaufman, who presided at the Rosenberg Spy Case, passed away at the age of 81.

1993: Gary Bettman becomes the NHL's first commissioner.

1996: “A Fair County” written by Jon Robin Baitz “premiered Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater” today.

1998: “A Daughter Seeks Her Olympian Father” published today described the tortured relationship between clinical psychologist Julie Jaffe Nagel and her father Irving Jaffee, the Gold Medal Olympian speed-skating champion.

1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including On the Possibility of Jewish Mysticism in Our Time by Gershom Scholem and Selected Poems by Harvey Shapiro

1999(15th of Shevat, 5759): Last celebration of Tu B’Shevat in the 20th century.

1999(15th of Shevat, 5759): Eight-four year old Benjamin Elazari Volcani the native of Ben-Shamen, who discovered life in the Dead Sea and pioneered biological silicon research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego” passed away today.

2002(19th of Shevat, 5762): Daniel Pearl, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal was beheaded today.

2003(25th of Tevet, 5771): The Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere killing the crew of six including Israel’s first man in space, Ilan Ramon. Ilan Ramon was born in 1954.  He was a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force. He was a graduate of Tel Aviv University and held the rank of Colonel at the time of his death. Ramon was a veteran of the Yom Kippur War, one of the first Israeli pilots to fly the then new F-16 jet and was part of the group that destroyed the Iraqi nueclar reactor before it could go on line.

2004: Jonathan Andrew Kaye won the FBR Open

2004: The New England Patriots, owned by Robert Kraft, the Jewish philanthropist defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII

2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Liberated Bride by A.B. Yehoshua; translated by Hillel Halkin and The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill by Ron Suskind.

2005: At Madison Square Garden this evening, “a handful of the 25,000 people there taking part in the 11th Siyum HaShas Daf Yomi celebration recalled some of the more unusual settings in which they have demonstrated their commitment to the daily study of Talmud, which was completed — and renewed for a new seven-and-a-half-year cycle — this week. Daf Yomi, or daily page, was introduced in 1923 at the First International Congress of Agudath Israel in Vienna by a young Polish rabbi, Meir Shapiro, as a way to bring uniformity to the worldwide study of Shas, an acronym for the names of the six orders of the Mishna, on which the Talmudic sages recorded their commentaries around 200 C.E. Agudah said 120,000 North American Jews were taking part in the celebration this year.”

2006:  Despite violent protests, Israel successfully completed the evacuation of the West Bank outpost of Amona.  This is in line with the policy of the Sharon government provide security for the state of Israel and ensuring that Israel remains both a democratic nation and a Jewish homeland.  The withdrawal policy has the support of the majority of Israelis.

2007: The Sarah Silverman Program premiered on Comedy Central

2007: The first exhibition of female architects in the history of Israeli architecture entitled "The feminine presence in Israeli architecture," opened at the gallery of the Union of Architects in Jaffa. Twenty-two female architects participated and displayed works they have planned in the past few years and which have since been built.

2007: As part of a kosher cooking contest, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation naming this date as Simply Manischewitz Cook-off Day.  Candace McMenamin, a non-Jew from Lexington, S.C. won with her sweet potato encrusted chicken.  Only in America

2008: In New Jersey, Barnet Hospital which had been founded in 1908 by Nathan Barnet announced that it would closing due to a lack of funding

2008: Six gunmen opened fire on the Israeli Embassy in Mauritania early this morning, trading fire with guards before fleeing screaming "Allah Akbar," witnesses said. The six men arrived by car and regrouped in front of a discotheque that is just beside the embassy, said Hamza Ould Bilal, a taxi driver who was parked outside the club, called the VIP. He saw them pull out their automatic weapons and scream "God is Great!" in Arabic, before assailing the embassy, he said.

2008: “Praying With Lior,” a new documentary about a Philadelphia boy with Down syndrome preparing for his bar mitzvah opens at the Cinema Village in New York.

2009:  At Yale University, CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America presents “Palestinian Issues in Israeli Journalism: A conversation with Khalid Abu Toameh, a journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post

2009: The New York Times and the Washington Post each featured a review of Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East by Martin Indyk, the assistant secretary of state for near east affairs during the Clinton Administration and the first Jewish American to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

2010: The Center for Jewish History and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation is scheduled to present “Diplomacy and Genocide: Challenges for the Future” during which a distinguished panel of policy makers, diplomats, and scholars discuss the issues and opportunities in diplomatic approaches to the prevention of genocide in the contemporary international community.

2010: Yehuda Weinstein replaced Menachem Mazuz as Attorney General of Israel.

2010: Two barrels of explosives were discovered on Israeli beaches today, which were dispatched into the sea as part of a large-scale Palestinian terror attack against Israeli navy ships.

2010: Seven American and European scientists were named winners of Israel's prestigious $100,000 Wolf Prize today. The Wolf Foundation said its prize in medicine went to Axel Ullrich of Germany for groundbreaking cancer research that has led to development of new drugs. Sir David Baulcombe of Cambridge University was awarded Wolf Prize for agriculture research in defending plants against viruses. The physics prize was shared by US professor John F. Clauser, Alain Aspect of France and Anton Zeilinger of Austria for their work in quantum physics. The mathematics prize was shared by two US-based professors: Shing-Tung Yau for geometric analysis, and Dennis Sullivan for contributions to algebraic topology and conformal dynamics. The Wolf Foundation was founded by the late German-born Dr. Ricardo Wolf, an inventor, philanthropist and former Cuban ambassador to Israel. The private nonprofit foundation's council is chaired by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

2010(17th of Shevat): Ninety-two year old Selma G. Hirsh, a humanitarian and an author who was associated with the American Jewish Committee for many years, passed away today  at her home in Stamford, Conn. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/nyregion/25hirsh.html?pagewanted=print

2011: Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day is scheduled to take placed in Richmond, VA.

2011: The Leo Baeck Institute and American Council on Germany are scheduled to present a lecture by Joschka Fischer and Norbert Frei entitled "The German Foreign Office and the Nazi Past"

2011: At Tulane University, Dean Carole Haber announced that Prof. Ronna Burger, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, has been appointed at the Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman Chair in Judeo-Christian Studies. This chair was endowed through of generous gift of Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman..

2011: Six Senate Democrats rejected a deficit-driven proposal by a new Republican senator to cut United States aid to Israel. In a letter sent today to the top House Republicans on the Appropriations and Budget committees, the Democrats said aid to Israel, the only democratic nation in the Middle East, is imperative. They backed the $3 billion in foreign military assistance that the U.S. provides annually to Israel. Republican Sen. Rand Paul said last week that the nation faces a fiscal crisis and argued that the U.S. cannot give money away, even to allies, as the debt grows.

2011: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant today that they have cancelled his upcoming appointment to the post of Israel Defense Forces chief. The announcement comes after months of scandal surrounding his appointment due to allegations that he had seized public lands near his home in Moshav Amikam in northern Israel. Galant was designated to succeed current IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this month.

2011: A Tunisian Jewish leader said today that the burning of a building that served as a synagogue in the South of the country was not an attack on the local Jewish community. Roger Bismuth, the president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, told The Jerusalem Post that the fire that broke out at a makeshift Jewish place of worship in the town of Ghabes was probably not an act of anti-Semitism, but one of vandalism

2011(27th of Shevat, 5771): Seventeen year old Mitchell Perlmeter, the son of rabbi Rex Perlmeter and Rabbi Rachel Hertzman, passed away today in his home at Montclair, NJ.

2012: “Mamele” is scheduled to be shown at Congregation Etz Chaim in Toledo, Ohio.

2012: “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg” is scheduled to be shown at temple Jeremiah in Northfield, Illinois.

2012: Liel Leibovitz is scheduled to moderate a presentation by New York Times columnist David Brooks at the 92nd Street Y.

2012: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Shimon Peres today he was worried about the possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear program, laid out in a recent IAEA report, and called on Iran to prove that the program is peaceful. "

2012: Israelis are in danger of waking up one morning to a different Israel, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni said at the Herzliya Conference today. Livni asserted that Israelis today are not debating the true issue - that the state's relgious minority will impose its will on the Zionist majority.

2012(8th of Shevat, 5772): Eighty-six year old Robert B. Cohen, the president of the Hudson County News Company passed away today.  (As reported by Denis Hevesi)

2013: Students and members of the Jewish community are scheduled to present poems by Jewish poets including works by Yehuda Acmichai following a Friday night Shabbat dinner at the Hillel at the University of Iowa.

2013: Tenth anniversary of the Columbia Shuttle disaster which claimed the lives of all on board including Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon.  The event is the subject of a special documentary entitled "Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope" which is scheduled to be aired today on Iowa Public Television.

2013: “Not By Bread Alone” is scheduled to be performed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

2013: On the secular calendar, 11th anniversary of the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

2013(22nd of Shevat, 2013): Eighty-eight year old Edward Koch, three-time mayor of New York passed away today on the same day that a documentary of his life opened in New York City theatres.(As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

2013: “The Gatekeepers” opened in U.S. movie theatres

2014: In Rockville, MD, Tikvat Israel is scheduled to show “Lost Islands” as part of its Israeli Film Festival.

2014: In Olney, MD, Shaare Tefila, is scheduled to host its Third Annual Comedy night of “Sweet Laughter.”

2014(1st of Adar 1, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

2014(1st of Adar 1, 5774): Eighty year old Gordon Zacks, the Ohio businessman who was active in the Republican Party and “served as an adviser to President George H.W. Bush (Bush I) passed away today.

2014: An Egyptian jihadist group said today that it fired a rocket at the Red Sea resort of Eilat which was intercepted by Israeli air defenses, its second in a fortnight

2014: Finance Minister Yair Lapid ordered a halt on all money transfers to the settlements pending the clarification regarding their specific use, a statement on his behalf said this evening.

2014: “Three Molotov cocktails were thrown this evening towards a private home in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood. No injuries were reported and light damage was caused to furniture in the house.”

2014: At the Writers Guild of America Awards ceremony, Mel Brooks presented Pau Mazursky with the Screen Laurel Award, which is the lifetime achievement award of the WGA.

2015: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Girl From Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family by Roger Cohen and the recently published paperback edition of A Replacement of Life, Boris Fishman’s first novel about the forgery of Holocaust restitution claims.

2015: In London, the Jewish Museum is scheduled to host an exhibition “From Generation to Generation” featuring the word of Gideon Summerfield.

2015: The New England Patriots, owned by Robert Kraft, the Jewish philanthropist defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

2015: Gary Bettman is scheduled to “mark his 22nd year as National Hockey League Commissioner” today.

2015(12th of Shevat, 5775): Eighty-nine year old M.I.T. professor Irving Singer passed away today. (As reported by Sam Roberts)

2015: “Renewal,” film that “profiles a group of dancers—the Vertigo Dance Company—in their pioneering eco-arts village on the outskirts of Jerusalem” is scheduled to be shown at Lincoln Center in New York.

2015: In New Orleans, funeral services are scheduled to held at the Old Beth Israel Cemetery on Frenchmen Street for Irvin Samuel Smith “who was a member of the CCJN’s close-knit family.”

2016: Some of the 6,000 Jews in Iowa are scheduled to join their fellow Hawkeyes in the first-in-the nation caucuses where the candidates include Bernie Sanders, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Hillary Clinton whose son-in-law is Jewish and Donald Trump whose daughter Ivanka is Jewish.

2016: The award winning exhibition, “Voices of the Vigil” is scheduled to move from Rockville, MD. to Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA.

2016(22nd of Shevat): On the Jewish calendar “yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Rebbe.”

2017: Physicist Persis S. Drell, the daughter of Sidney Drell, who has been serving as Dean of the Stanford University School of Engineering since 2014 is scheduled to begin serving the Provost of Stanford University today.

2017 (5th of Shevat, 5777): On the Jewish calendar Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Alter, “the leader of the Ger Chassidic dynasty, author of Sfas Emes.

2017: In Memphis, TN, as a tribute to the vitality of southern Jewry in these challenging times, Temple Israel Cantorial Soloist Abbie Strauss is scheduled to lead “Musically Speaking” with sessions for both youngsters and adults.

2017: In New York, the Batsheva Dance Company is scheduled to perform Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s “Last Work.”

2017: The Yeshiva Museum is scheduled to host a special tour focused on the work of Hugh Mesibov.



Monday, January 30, 2017

This Day, January 31, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

January 31

314: Sylvester I whose name is “the Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations” began his papacy

“The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, “Sylvester,” was the name of the “Saint” and Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.). The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation. All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory. December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory. (As reported by Jewlicious)

439: Promulgation of the Code of Theodosius II in the Byzantine Empire. This was the first imperial compilation of anti- Jewish laws since Constantine. Jews were prohibited from holding important positions involving money including judicial and executive offices and the ban against building new synagogues was reinstated. Theodosius was the Roman emperor of the East (408–450) The Code was readily accepted as well by Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III (425-455).

579: The reign of Khosrow I (or Chosroes I)  who “protected the rights of Christian and Jewish minoirites” when he “destroyed Antioch” in 540 came to an end today.

1253: Henry III of England ordered that Jewish worship in Synagogues must be held quietly so that Christians should not have to hear it when passing by. In addition Jews were not to employ Christian nurses or maids, nor was any Jew allowed to prevent another Jew from converting to Christianity.

1419: Pope Martin V issued a Bull that abolished the oppressive laws promulgated by antipope Benedict XIII and granted the Jews those privileges which had been accorded them under previous popes.

1493: Jews fleeing Spain were no longer allowed to enter to enter Genoa. During the previous year Jews fleeing Spain were allowed to land in Genoa for three days. As of this date the special consideration was cancelled due to the “fear” that the Jews may introduce the Plague.

1504: France ceded Naples to Aragon. Jews had lived in Naples in comparative freedom but began to suffer persecution when the French conquered the kingdom in 1495.  Conditions worsened when the Spanish began to rule the southern Italian land and by 1541 the Jewish community ceased to exist.

1674(24th of Shevat): Rabbi Abraham Auerbach of Coesfeld, Germany instituted an annual fast in commemoration of his expulsion on this date.

1684(Shevat, 5444): Benedict (Baruch) Nehamias de Castro, who was so successful in practicing medicine in his hometown of Hamburg “that in 1645 he was appointed physician in ordinary to Queen Christina of Sweden” passed away today.

1812: Birthdate of Frederick David Goldsmid, the MP for Honiton.

1813: Birthdate of Dutch physician, pharmacist and philanthropist, Samuel Sarphati. “One of the great Amsterdammers of the 19th century,” Sarphati, was a promoter of public housing, an organizer of municipal services such as garbage collecting, and the builder of a bread factory that provided better and cheaper bread for the city. He also built the Amstel hotel. Sarphati is seen by Dutch history as a great philanthropist. Nobody ever knew he was Jewish—until the Germans authorities changed the name Sarphati Street into “Muiderschans”.

1820(15th of Shevat, 5580): Tu B’Shevat

1830: Birthdate of James G. Blaine, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for U.S. President who while serving as Secretary of State was presented with “a petition signed by 413 Jewish and Christian leaders including John and William Rockefeller, calling for an international conference on the Jews and Palestine.”

1830: In South Moravia Löbl Strakosch and Julia Schwarz gave birth their daughter Josefina Strakosch.

1838: In Charleston, SC, Rabbi Poznanski officiated at the marriage of Samuel Sampson to Catherine Goldsmith, “the only daughter of the late Isaac Goldsmith.”

1842(20th of Shevat, 5602): Seventy-seven year old Emanuel Deutz who had been serving as Chief Rabbi of France since 1810 passed away today.

1842: In St. Mary’s, Camden Country, GA, Lieutenant Levi Charles Harby married Leonora R. D’Lyon the daughter of Levi S. D’Lyon of Savannah, GA at the residence of Dr. Francis O. Curtis.

1845: The government Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler permission to leave Hanover so that he could move to London and assume the position of Chief Rabbi.

1846: After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown were incorporated to form the modern city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four years prior to this, the families of Solomon Adler, Isaac Neustadt, and Moses Weil settled in the city.  As proof of the vibrancy of the young community, during the 1840’s the first Rosh Hashanah services were held at the home of Henry Newhouse and the first Yom Kippur Services were held in a building containing Pereles grocery store.  For more about the history of the Jews of Milwaukee consider a visit to the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee or reading "One People, Many Paths: A History of Jewish Milwaukee," by John Gurda.

1841(9th of Shevat, 5601): German Jewish music teacher Moses Budinger who “edited the Jewish ritual for festivals with a grammatical commentary in Hebrew and the penitential prayers with a commentary” passed away in Cassel today.

1848: Birthdate of Nathan Straus who the wealthy American businessman and philanthropist who owned R.H. Macy & Company and Abraham and Straus. Born in Otterberg, Germany, Strauss moved to the United States with his family in 1854 where they first settled in Georgia before moving to New York City after the Civil War where young Nathan worked in his father’s firms L Straus & Sons.  In the 1880’s he began a life of philanthropy and public service that included leading the fight against tuberculosis and a major effort to improve the public libraries.  His philanthropy extended to developing a Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel following his first visit to the area in 1912.  His support is memorialized by the fact that a street in the Jerusalem is called “Rehov Straus” and that the modern Israeli city of Netanya, founded in 1927, was named in his honor

1851(28th of Shevat, 5611): David Spangler Kaufman passed away. Born in 1813, Kaufman was the first Jewish United States Congressman from Texas. No other Jewish Texan served in Congress until Martin Frost in 1979. He was born in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. After graduating with high honors from Princeton College in 1830, he studied law under John A. Quitman in Natchez, Mississippi, and was admitted to the bar. He began his legal career in Natchitoches, Louisiana, five years later. In 1837 Kaufman settled in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he practiced law and participated in military campaigns against the Cherokee Indians. He was wounded in an encounter in 1839. Between 1838 and 1845 he was a member of the Republic of Texas's congress. He served in the Republic's House of Representatives from 1838 to 1842, and was Speaker of the House in the last two years. He was a member of the Texas Senate from 1843 to 1845, when president of Texas Anson Jones named him chargé d'affaires to the United States in February 1845. After the Texas Annexation, Kaufman represented the Eastern District (District 1 of Texas in the United States House of Representatives from 1845 to 1851. While in Congress, Kaufman argued unsuccessfully that Texas owned lands that are now parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. He encouraged Governor of Texas Peter Hansborough Bell to have Texas troops seize Santa Fe, New Mexico, which never occurred. He also played a role in the Compromise of 1850, as one result of which the national government assumed the debts of the former republic. Kaufman was a Freemason and a charter member of the Philosophical Society of Texas. He died in Washington, D.C. while attending the Congress, and was originally buried in the Congressional Cemetery there. In 1932 his remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. Kaufman County, Texas and the city of Kaufman, Texas are named for him.

1856: F.W. Evans delivered a lecture tonight entitled "Shakerism" during which he described numerous similarities in the beliefs and/or practices of the Shakers and those of the Jews. This positive view Jews may be one of the reasons that systemic European style anti-Semitism never took firm root in the United States.

1860: In Prague, Simon Heller and Mathilde Kassanowitz gave birth to Maximilian Heller, the Rabbi at Temple Sinai in New Orleans who was the husband of Ida Annie Heller.

1864(23rd of Shevat, 5624): Fifty-one year old Bavarian lawyer Fischel Arnheim whose legal reputation led to his election four times to the Bavarian Legislature from the cities of Hof and Munchberg.

1864(23rd of Shevat, 5624): Fifty-five year old Rabbi Michael Sachs who was enlightened enough to be “one of the first Jewish graduates from the modern universities” but who “so strongly opposed the introduction of the organ into the Synagogue that he retired from the Rabbinate rather than acquiesce” which led him to a literary life that included a new translation of the Bible passed away today.

1865: The House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment today paving the way for it to be sent to the States for ratification. 

1871: It was reported today that the Russian government has issued an imperial decree exempting Jews from military service once they reach the age of 32.  Christians are exempt once they reach the age of 23. Any Jew who converts will not have to serve in the military – another example of “proselytism by main force.”

1874: In the United Kingdom, start of the general election in which Benjamin Disraeli’s Conservatives would win a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.

1881: As of today, the books of the Board of Endowment of the Grand Lodge of the order Kesher Shel Barzel, District No.1 showed a deficiency of $2,996.36 which would later be attributed to embezzlement by President Oettinger.

1884(4th of Shevat, 5644): Thirty-nine year old German orientalist Siegfried Goldschmidt who fought in the Franco-Prussian War and died today of spinal consumption before he could assume his duties as a professor at the University of Strasburg.

1886: Birthdate of Lev Shestov. Lev Isaakovich Shestov, born Yehuda Leyb Schwarzmann was a Russian - Jewish existentialist philosopher. The Kiev native fled to France in 1921 seeking to escape the society created by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution.  He lived in Paris until his death in 1938.

1890: Henry A. Jackson, the Secretary of the Emigration Commission received a letter from Charles Frank, the Superintendent of the United Hebrew Charities attesting to the ability of Moses Gershonfeldt to be able to provide for his wife and four children who were being held at Ward’s Island because Commissioner Stephenson had arbitrarily denied them admission even though Moses, a butcher who earned $12 a week and his son Joseph who earned $9 a week had come to his office, described their financial condition and sought to leave with his wife and remaining children whose passage he had paid so that the family could be reunited.

1891: Twenty-nine year old “Edward Lawrence Levy” won “the first British amateur weight lifting championship today.

1891: During the Congressional Investigation of the management of the Barge Office, Colonel John B. Weber the former Superintendent Weber testified as to how the United Hebrew Charities had offered to care for a poor Englishwoman that Dr. Drum and the “powerful and wealthy Episcopal church” had to turned its back on leading Weber to say that he “prayed if he was to be born again he should be born a Jews for then he would have somebody to care of him if he should ever be in need.”

1892: In New York City, Meta and Mechel Iskowitz gave birth to Edward Israel Iskowitz the orphan who was raised by his grandmother Esther Kantrowtiz and gained fame as Eddie Cantor.

1892: It was reported today that six members of the senior class at Rutgers are studying Hebrew, “the study of which is increasing in” the United States.

1892: Birthdate of Moritz Guttman the native Kleinsteinach who fought in the German Army during WW I.

1892: Rabbi Henry S. Jacobs of B’nai Jeshrun officiated at the funeral of Benjamin Russak which was held at his home and followed by burial at Cypress Hills. The police were on hand to deal with the large number of carriages that brought a throng of the city’s leading business leaders and prominent members of the Jewish community.

1892: Charles Spurgeon, the English Reformed Baptist Minister who expressed his disgust for the Czar’s treatment of his Jewish subjects, passed away. “If I had all the health and strength that could fall to the lot of man, I should be quite unable to express my feelings on reading of Russia’s intolerance of the Jews…The Czar is greatly injuring his own country by driving out God’s ancient people.  No country can trample with impunity.”

1892: “The Russian Exiles” published today described efforts by the Jewish community to meet the needs of the swelling tide of immigrants that is arriving from Europe.  According to the United Hebrew Charities 62,574 Jews arrived in New York last with five-sixths or 54,194 of them coming from Russia.  The total included 26,891 men, 16,393 women and 19,290 children.  Only 195 of the immigrants were sent back to Europe by the U.S. government while 46,029 have remained in the city with the rest having been provided transportation to other cities.

1893: The Jewish community of Philadelphia is scheduled to host a charity ball today to which President-elect Grover Cleveland was invited by A.E. Greenwald and Chapman Raphael.

1893: “L’Amico Fritz” Mascagni’s second opera is scheduled to be performed at the Music Hall tonight under the direction of Walter Damrosch with the proceeds going to the Hebrew Educational Institute.

1893: Charles Frohman “signed a contract” today” under which his comedians will open at the Garden Theatre” in September.

1895: Isaac Spectosky of the Hebrew Institute was among those who attended today’s meeting of the Federation of East Side Workers.

1896: In Philadelphia PA, the American Jewish Historical Society held the final day of it fourth annual conference during which Dr. Cyrus Adler present a paper on “Notes on the Inquisition in Mexico and the Jews”; Max Kohler presented a paper on “The Jews and the American Anti-Slavery Movement” and Professor Morris Jastrow presented a paper on “Documents Relating to the Career of Colonel Isaac Franks.”

1897: Dr. Emil G. Hirsch was among those who attended a conference of South Side Charities in Chicago, Illinois.

1897: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil preached a sermon entitled “Rights and Wrongs of Rich and Poor” at Temple Emanu-El this morning.

1897: The Jewish Socialists’ Convention continued its meeting for another day at the Walhalla Hall on Orchard Street.

1897: Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil “delivered the fifth and last course of his on ‘The Geography of Palestine’ at Temple Emanu-El” this evening.  Gottheil is the son of the congregation’s rabbi and the college professor who helped found Zeta Beta Tau.

1897: Twenty-four year old Montgomery, Alabama native I.O. Schiff, the son of Rabbi Abraham J. Schiff and a member of the New York firm of Schiff Bros. married Stella Newmark with whom he had three children – Ruth, Stanley T. and Roslyn Schiff.

1898: It was reported today that Mrs. Esther Wallenstein has been elected President of the Hebrew Infant Asylum Association and that Maurice Untermyer has been elected Vice President

1898: It was reported today that arrangements are being completed for a debated between representatives of the Jewish Technical School, the Hebrew Institute and the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

1898: It was reported today that Rabbi Gustav Gottheil views newspapers “as the recorders and distributors of the world’s daily history” which provide information that will break down prejudice.

1898: It was reported today that the committee that is trying to building the first Jewish hospital in Brooklyn has selected four potential sites. The committee’s officers are: President – Robert Strahl; Vice President – Sigmund Wechsler; Secretary – Charles Levy

1899: The seventh annual meeting of the Hebrew Free Loan Association was held this evening at the Educational Alliance on East Broadway

1899: It was reported today that the officers of the Union of Jewish Religious Schools are: President-Richard Gottheil; Vice Presidents – Miss Julia Rachman and Dr. Kaufmann Kohler; Honorary Treasurer – A.F. Hochstader; Honorary Secretary – Rabbi Stephen O. Wise

1899: Daniel P. Hays presided over a dinner given by the Judeans to honor Dr. Cyrus Adler who is the newly elected President of the American Jewish Historical Society.

1906: Birthdate of Benjamin Frankel, the London born composer who was “the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants.”

1906: “Cossacks Massacre Jews” published today described the attacks on the Jews of Gomel by Cossacks whose efforts “to obtain evidence of revolutionary activity” degenerated into an orgy of drunken looting and murder.

1906: Maurice Arnoff and Adolf Spiegel of Temple El Chaim officiated at the wedding of Solomon Levin who manufacturers wax images and Mollie Mogilewsky, the daughter of east side banker Rubin Mogilewsky which was held at the Attorney Street Synagogue.

1907: “Miss Hook of Holland” a two act musical comedy “with music and lyrics by Paul Rubens” who co-authored the book “opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre” today where it would run for 462 performances.

1909: Birthdate Yosef Burg, “a seminal Israeli political figure who was a Cabinet Minister for 35 years as a head of the religious Zionist movement…” (As reported by Deborah Sontag)

1910: Birthdate of Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian who, with the collaboration of official diplomats, posed as the Spanish consul-general to Hungary in the winter of 1944, and saved 5218 Jews from deportation to Nazi Germany death camps in eastern Europe.

1911(2nd of Shevat, 5671): Sixty-seven year old Paul Singer, a leading German Marxist and a co-chairman of the Social Democratic Party passed away.

1913(23rd of Shevat, 5673): Sixty-year old Alfred Cohen, a “Councillor at the Supreme Court of Justice, passed away today in Munich.

1915: “New Jewish Magazine” published today described the publication by the Intercollegiate Menorah Association of the first issue of The Menorah Journal a bi-monthly under the guidance of editor in chief Henry Hurwitz which includes the following articles: “A Call to the Educated Jew” by Louis Brandeis; “Jewish Students in European Universities” by Harry Wolfson; “The Jews in War” by Dr. Joseph Jacobs and “Days of Disillusionment” by Samuel Strauss.

1915: In Atlanta, GA, “the jury in the case of Dan S. Lehon, C.C. Tedder and Arthur Forman charge with subornation of a perjury in an effort to obtain a new trial for Leo M. Frank, convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan, brought in a verdict of not guilty at 1:50 this afternoon.”

1915: “If Leo Frank obtains his freedom from the United States Supreme Court, it was announced today that Solicitor Dorsey would make an effort to have him indicted by the Grand Jury on one of two other charges” and that “Solicitor Dorsey said he intended to fight the case to the bitter end.”

1915: “Another batch” of refugees from Palestine have arrived at Alexandria aboard “the United States warship Tennessee which has been fitted up as transport” and have provided information that shows “the inability of the Turks to anything that is effective against Egypt

1915: It was reported today that “the Russian Government is now seeking to re-establish the autocracy as it existed before granting of the constitution” and has returned to its practice of organizing demonstrations against the Jews.

1915: “Refugees who have arrived in Egypt from Palestine report that conditions go from bad to worse” with “relations between the German and Turkish officers have reached a stage of acute tension.”

1916: While developments today with respect to the nomination of Louis D. Brandeis to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court did not change the rather general opinion among Senators that the nomination would be confirmed, it became more apparent that confirmation would not be accomplished without a struggle.

1916: It was reported today that New York Assemblymen Nathan Perlman and Myer Levy were among those who attended the dance held “by the Madison Republican of the Twenty-Sixth Assembly District for the benefit of war sufferers.”

1916: In a sign of the non-sectarian nature of the fund raising efforts on behalf of the Jews of Europe, it was reported that Senator Boise Penrose and Congressman William S. Vare were among those who spoke at the Philadelphia Mass Meeting organized by the American Jewish Relief Committee.

1916: Sendel and Riva Grynszpan, the parents of Herschel Grynsapan (the alleged assassin of Ernst von Rath) gave birth to their third child and second daughter, Esther.

1916: As a measure of the worsening conditions in Russia, “many commercial and technical associations have adopted resolutions declaring the restrictions placed up the Jews are the reason for Russia’s commercial backwardness.”

1916: Among those who paid tribute to Dr. Joseph Jacobs “the noted Jewish scholar and editor of the American Hebrew” who passed away yesterday were Cyrus L. Sulzberger, “Dr. Frank H. Vizitelly, the scholar and author associated with Dr. Jacobs in many of the publications issued by Funk and Wagnalls” and Louis Marshall.”

1916: “The National Jewish Workmen’s Committee on Jewish Rights announced” today “that it will submitted to Congress document expositing atrocities practice on the Jews in the warring countries of Europe.”

1917: Germany announces its U-boats will engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.

1917: As the debate over immigration continued to rage across the American political spectrum, Max J. Kohler, the son of Rabbi Kaufmann Kohler wrote today that “No doubt a very large portion of the thoughtful and patriotic citizens of our country hope that Congress will sustain the President’s veto of the Immigration bill and particularly is that true of those who, like the Jewish citizens of the United States, love our hallowed American precedent of right of asylum for the persecuted…

1918(18th of Shevat, 5678): Dr. Jechiel Tchlenow, the Moscow physician who was a major leader of the Zionist movement passed away. In 1917, Tchlenow had come to London “where he took an active part in the diplomatic negotiations that have resulted in official declarations by Great Britain” favoring the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

1919: Birthdate of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers. . Robinson was befriended by Hank Greenberg, the Jewish slugger who had had to deal with bigotry during his career.  According to Jonathan Eig, the only friends that Robinson had in Brooklyn during his first year “were Jewish people.” “The Jewish community clearly recognized a kindred spirit here, someone who had to prove himself. The war had just ended, [and] anti-Semitism was running high. Blacks and Jews both, after the war, felt they had some work to do to establish more respect."

1921: The Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Victor Berger. Berger had been convicted of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. In overturning the conviction the Supreme Court found that the presiding Judge, Kennesaw Landis (the future Baseball Commissioner) had improperly presided over the case after the filing of an affidavit of prejudice.

1923: Birthdate of author Norman Mailer. Born in Long Branch, NJ, The future Pulitzer Prize winner’s family soon moved to Brooklyn “later described by Mailer as ‘the most secure Jewish environment in America.’”

1924: Birthdate of Marion Ruth Abitz, the wife of Irving Abitz

1924: In Pontiac, Michigan, Fannie Ester Blustin and Philip Taubman gave birth to mall developer Adolph Alfred Taubman.

1925: Birthdate of Charles Eliot Silberman, the native of Des Moines, Iowa, who gained fame as “a journalist whose books addressed vast, turbulent social subjects including race, education, crime and the state of American Jewry.” (As reported by Margalit Fox)

1928: Nathan Straus, prominent philanthropist, celebrated the eightieth anniversary of his birthday today at his home, 580 West End Avenue.  He will spend the day quietly with members of his immediate family. Among those sending congratulatory communications are President Calvin Coolidge and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. While Straus has gained great honor for his humanitarian efforts, he was proud of his business acumen and some of his unique accomplishments which, according to him, included the introduction of rest rooms and medical care employees.  His philanthropic contributions in Palestine were made with the understanding that they would be available to all regardless of race, religion, creed or nationality.  Everybody knows about his support of Jewish settlers, but how many people are aware of the fact that he gave funds that were to be used by Arabs so that they buy modern agricultural equipment?  How many people known that when Palestine was struck by an earthquake, and Arabs were the chief victims, he sent a substantial sum earmarked for their use?  

1928: Mrs. Hertha Fuerth Lasker, a Viennese artist who was married last August to Edward Lasker, one of the leading chess players in the United States and a cousin of Albert Lasker, former Chairman of the United States Shipping Board, was a passenger on the Hamburg-American liner which arrived in New York tonight.

1929: Stalin expelled Leon Trotsky from Russia.  Trotsky took refuge in Turkey.

1930: The Golden Ring, a romantic operetta, set in Tel Aviv, premiered at the National Theatre on Second Avenue in New York City.

1930: The trial of Simcha Hinkas, the Jewish policeman charged with leading a Jewish crowd which killed a family of Arabs in Jaffa on Aug. 25, 1929 continued today in Jaffa with the prosecution presenting what it consider to be its strongest witnesses.  

1931: Dr. William H. Hechler, a Protestant clergyman and teacher who was an early supporter of Theodore Herzl and his Zionist program passed away today at the age of 86.  Among other things, Hechler arranged for Herzl to meet Kaiser Wilhelm in those pre-war days when it was thought that the German monarch could persuade the Ottomans to support a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

1932: The New York Times reported that Miss Freda Berson of Warsaw who is one of the best discus throwers in Poland and Miss Heda Bienenfeld of the Vienna Hokah, an outstanding Austrian swimmer will be competing in the upcoming Maccabiah.

1933(4th of Shevat, 5693): Heinrich Oppenheimer, the German born physician who moved to Britain where he pursued a medical career and, after obtaining an LL.B combined his two areas of interest to produce “The Criminal Reasonability of “Lunatics: A Study in Comparative Law” and “The Rational for Punishment” passed away today in Nice.

1934: Birthdate of “Alfred Appel Jr., a scholarly expert on Vladimir Nabokov, whose lecture course he attended at Cornell and the author of wide-ranging interpretive books on modern art and jazz.” (As reported by William Grimes)

1934(15th of Shevat, 5694): Tu B'Shevat

1935 (27th of Shevat, 5695); David Trietsch, an expert on the agriculture and economy of Palestine, as well as “one of the founders of the Zionist movement” passed away today.  The 65 year old native of Germany died of heart failure at Rmat Ayim, near Tel Aviv.  Trietsch believed that a Jewish homeland would be created through “practical colonization” as opposed to political negotiations.  When the Ottomans sought to halt Jewish settlement in Palestine, Trietsch supported the settlement of Jews in Cyprus so that they would be poised to move to Palestine quickly as soon as there was a change in the political climate.

1935: “The Good Fairy” a romantic comedy directed by William Wyler and produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr. premiered in New York Ctiy.

1935: In Croatia, Mane and Helen Hochwald gave birth to Branko Hochwald, who would come to United States in 1944 where he gained fame as Raymond B. Harding, the leader of New York State’s Liberal Party. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

1936: “The suffering of the Jews in Germany has brought into focus the necessity for an all-inclusive brothe hood of Jews and Gentiles in the city and nation,” according to the 1935 Report of the Greater New York Federation of Churches which was made public today.

1937: In Baltimore, MD Ida (née Gouline) and Benjamin Charles Glass, a record store owner, gave birth to composer Philip Morris Glass

1937: Ben-Zion Mossinson of Tel Aviv delivered an address at New York’s Rodeph Sholom entitled “Is There A Solution for the Jewish Problem?”

1938: Muriel Rukeyser established herself as a poet of enduring impact with the publication of U.S. 1, her second book of poems.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that three large Arab bands abducted nine Arab supernumerary policemen from their police post near Acre, and shot their corporal dead in cold blood. The Arab policemen were disarmed and beaten, warned to leave the force and released. At another police post in the South arms and ammunition were stolen.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that Romania officially denounced the Minorities Treaty into which it had entered upon gaining independence at the Peace Conference at Versailles, and claimed that the Jewish question was now "a purely internal matter" over which the League of Nations had no more jurisdiction. This meant that Romania now felt free to implement still more severe anti-Semitic discriminatory measures. 

1938: The Palestine Post reported on the rise of anti-Jewish feelings and vandalism in Yugoslavia including the fact that "local Nazis" had smashed the windows out of the Sephardic synagogue of Belgrade.

1940: In New York, Dr. Eugene Hevesi, a Hungarian-born leader in the American Jewish community who served as foreign affairs secretary for the American Jewish Committee and as representative to the United Nations for several Jewish NGOs and his wife gave birth to Alan Hevesi, the New York Democrat who served as Comptroller of New York City and State Comptroller for the state of New York. He is also the brother of New York Timesman Dennis Hevesi who creates literary gems for the obituary page.

1941(3rd of Shevat, 5701): Twenty-four year old Bulla (Bubbles) Blumenson was killed by enemy action today after which she was interred at the Rainham Jewish Cemetery.

1941: Three thousand Jews were taken from their villages and moved into the Warsaw Ghetto. Another 70,000 Jews would be uprooted and moved into the Warsaw Ghetto by the end of March.

1941: U.S. premiere of “Come Live With Me” starring Hedy Lamar.

1941: Birthdate of Leningrad native Lev M. Bergman, the Israeli mathematician “most known for the Bregman divergence named after him.”

1942 (13th of Shevat, 5702): Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah passed away in New York. Wife of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneerson, and mother of the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah lived through the upheavals of the first half of the 20th century. She fled the advancing front of World War I from Lubavitch to Rostov, where her husband passed away in 1920 at age 59. In 1927, she witnessed the arrest of her son by Stalin's henchmen the night he was taken away and sentenced to death, G-d forbid, for his efforts to keep Judaism alive throughout the Soviet empire. After Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's release, the family resettled in Latvia and later, Poland; in 1940, they survived the bombing of Warsaw, were rescued from Nazi-occupied city, and immigrated to the United States.

1942: Einsatzgruppe A commanding officer, Franz W. Stahlecker, sent a detailed report about activities in the Baltic and White Russian countries. It stated that between July 23 and October 15, 1941, 135,567 Jews were killed. Eichmann sent out a letter making official the conclusions of the Wannsee Conference, "The evacuation of the Jews . . . is the beginning of the final solution of the Jewish problem."

1942: By the end of January, at least 160,000 Jews were living in the Lodz ghetto.

1945 (17th of Shevat, 5705): Fritz Freund, husband of Mathilde Freund, died at Buchenwald just three months before the camp was liberated.  In the first decade of the 21st century Mathilde Freund would sue France’s government owned railroad, Societe National des Chemins de Fer Francais over its role in the deportation of her husband and thousands of other French Jews to the death camps.

1946: Having resigned from the RAF Mordechai "Modi" Alon returned to Palestine and enrolled as an architecture student at the Technion. Allon would gain fame as one of the first fighter pilots in the IAf and the first one to shoot down an enemy aircraft.

1946: “The citation for Captain Isidore’s MBE that concluded ‘For his courage and devotion to duty during his two clandestine missions in Occupied France, it is recommened that Captain Newman be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division)’ was gazetted today.”

1947: In the House of Commons, during a debate about Britain marinating the Mandate in Palestine, Churchill, leading the Opposition, calls for the Government to end the Mandate.  Two weeks later, the Labor Government will adopt this as policy. 

1948: Birthdate of poet Albert Goldbarth.

1948: J D Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish" appears in New York City.

1949: After hearing Churchill’s speech in Parliament denouncing the logic of the Labor Government’s policy towards Israel and calling for recognition of the new Jewish state, Sir Simon Marks, a leading Jewish businessman and philanthropist, wrote to the former PM assuring him that Chaim Weizmann would find great comfort in his words.

1949: The U.S. which had recognized Israel on a de factor basis on May 15 recognized Israel on a de jure basis today.

1950: In Larchmont, drama critic Walter Kerr and author Jean Collins Kerr gave birth to John Kerr, “an editor, literary muse and confidant for a generation of Freudian scholars and the author of A Most Dangerous Method, the book that became the basis for a play and a movie directed by David Conenberg about the famous feud between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung

1950: President Truman revealed that he had ordered the Atomic Energy Commission to develop the hydrogen bomb.  This decision might have been called Dueling Jewish Physicists.  On one side was Dr. Oppenheimer father of the A-Bomb who opposed building the hydrogen bomb.  On the other side was Dr. Teller who had worked on the A-Bomb and favored building the H-Bomb.  Teller won out.  Oppenheimer’s opposition was one of the causes of him losing his security clearance during the 1950’s. This was an injustice that Teller did not support and that President Kennedy would rectify.

1951: Birthdate of Dr. Harold Alan Pincus, the Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and father of Zachary Pincus-Roth the Princeton educated writer and journalist.

1954: Birthdate of Rabbi Michael Melchior, the native of Copenhagen who made Aliyah in 1986.

1955: Egyptian authorities hanged two Jews in Cairo – Dr. Moshe Marzouk and Samuel (Shmeul) Azar – who had been found guilty of spying for Israel.  Eight other Jews had been given long prison sentences for the same reason.

1957: Martin Landau married Barbara Bain today.

1958: Lieutenant General Haim Laskov is serving as IDF Chief of Staff as the Egyptians and Syrians prepare to form the United Arab Republic which will increase the threat faced by the Jewish state.

1960: World Sephardi Federation meets in Madrid, Spain. Some members complain they did not want Spain to be the site of the meeting, as they did not want to return to Spain for any reason.

1960: Songwriter Adolph Green marries actress/singer Phyllis Newman in New York City.

1961: David Ben-Gurion resigned as premier of Israel.

1961: A 3.5 kilometer tract of land southwest of Mount Kidod was chosen today as the site for the city of Arad.

1961: Joseph Rosenstock returned to the Met today to conduct Tristan und Isolde.

1965: CBS broadcast the first episode of “For the People” a “legal drama” created by Stuart Rosenberg, produced by Herbert Rodkin and starring William Shatner and Howard Da Silva.

1967(20th of Shevat, 5727): Seventy-year old sculptor, Virginia Morris Pollak, the wife of Leo Pollak passed away today.

1968: At sunset, all non-Israeli military units gave up the search for the INS Dakar, an Israeli submarine that had been first been reported missing on January 26.

1970(24th of Shevat, 5730): Seventy-six year old Samuel Feldman, the husband of Stella Feldman of Long Beach, NY, passed away today in Miami Beach.

1970: In Washington, DC, “Judith Plotz, an English professor at The George Washington University, and Dr. Paul Plotz, researcher at the National Institutes of Health” gave birth to “David Plotz, an American journalist and is currently the CEO of Atlas Obscura, an online magazine devoted to discovery and exploration” who is married to Hanna Rosin, “a co-founder of Slate magazine’s DoubleX.

1973: U.S. premiere of “Steel Yard Blues” produced by Julia Phillips

1974: Linda McCartney and her husband “appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone today, making her the only person to have taken a photograph, and to have been photographed, for the front cover of the magazine.”

1974(8th of Shevat, 5734): Hilda Winifred Lewis (nee Maizels), the Whitechapel born historical novelist who was the wife of Dr. M.M. Lewis, the Director of the Institute of Education at the University of Nottingham, the sister of Montague Maizels and Miriam Wright and sister-in-law of Professor Samson Wright passed away today.

1974 (8th of Shevat, 5734):  Samuel Goldwyn, a major force in the creation of the motion picture industry, passed away at the age of 91. The evolution of Goldwyn’s name is microcosm of the experience of European Jews who came to America.  Born Schmuel Gelbfisz, he changed his name to Samuel Goldfish when he moved to Great Britain because that sounded more English.  After he moved to America he went into partnership with two Broadway producers whose names were Selwyn.  In naming their partnership they combined their two last names to create Goldwyn.  Sam liked the American sound of it so much that he changed his name for the third and last time.  What is amazing is the role that this Jewish immigrant from Poland played in creating modern American culture.  Among other things, he discovered that quintessential American hero, Gary Cooper and won the Oscar for best picture with his production “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Goldwyn may have been.  When Louis B Mayer a former partner turned commented on Goldwyn’s death he said, “The reason so many people turned up at his funeral is that they wanted to make sure he was dead."  However Goldwyn’s last production marked him as a man of moral fiber. In his final film made in 1959, Samuel Goldwyn brought together African-American actors Sidney Poitier Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr. and singer Pearl Bailey in a film rendition of the George Gershwin Opera, Porgy and Bess. The film won three Oscars. Samuel Goldwyn's lack of English language skills led to many of his malapropisms being frequently quoted such as:

  • "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."
  • "Include me out."
  • "What we need now is some new, fresh clichés."
  • "Anyone who would go to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined!"
  • "Every director bites the hand that lays the golden egg."
  • "Flashbacks are a thing of the past."
  • "A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad."

1978: Israel turned 3 military outposts in the West Bank into civilian settlements

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Defense Minister Ezer Weizmann left for Cairo for the second round of the interrupted military discussions. One of his specific aims was reported to be to influence the Egyptians so that they would modify their position of "not giving up even one inch of Sinai."

1979(3rd of Shevat, 5739): Celia Adler passed away today at the age of 89.  Known as the “First Lady of the Yiddish Theatre” she was part of Jewish theatrical dynasty that included her parents, Jacob and Dinah Shtettin, her half-sister Stella Adler and her half-brother Luther Adler.

1980: The New York City Ballet premiere of “Fancy Free,” a ballet by Jerome Robbins “took place today.”

1980: Seventy-three year old Irving Loeb Goldberg “assumed senior status” on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

1981: Jean-Marie Lustiger was enthroned as Archbishop of Paris.  He had been born Aaron Lustiger and converted at the age of 13 in 1940.  His mother died at Auschwitz.

1986: “Youngblood” a dramatic film edited by Stephen E. Rivkin who would later gain fame for his “work on the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’” was released in the United States today.

1986: “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” a comedy directed and co-produced by Paul Mazursky and co-starring Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfus was release today.

1987: In “Poignant Look-back At Holocaust In 'Beloved'” published today Kevin Thomas reviewed Manfred Kirchheimer’s “We Were So Beloved.”

1987: As more information came out about what would be known as The Iran-Contra Affair, Yaacov Nimrodi, said today that Israel's Defense Ministry had approved the sale of $50 million worth of Israeli-made weapons to Iran almost two months before the first reported American request for Israel's help in approaching Teheran.

1988: A Jewish settler was severely burned today when his car was firebombed in an area near the Ofra settlement north of Jerusalem.

1988: ABC broadcast the first episode of “The Wonder Years” a comedy-drama co-created by Neal Marlens and narrated by Daniel Stern.

1989: Birthdate of Israel Bar-On “an Israeli singer, who won Israel's Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born) song contest in 2008.”

1990: Yuval Ne'eman resigned from the Knesset today and was replaced by Gershon Shafat.

1992: Tonight’ performance of the Gershwin musical "Crazy for You" at the Shubert Theater is a benefit designed to raised funds for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

1993: Broadcast of the first episode of Barry Levinson’s “Homicide: Life on the Street” co-starring Yaphet Kotto and Richard Belzer.

1993: The Dallas Cowboys, who had counted on the play of Alan Veingard during the regular won Super Bowl XXVII even though he had been “declared inactive for the game.”

1995(30TH of Shevat, 5755) Rosh Chodesh Adar I

1996: Alan Binder completed his service as the 15th Vice Chairperson of the Federal Reserve.

1996 (10th of Shevat, 5756): Mathematician Gustave Solomon passed away at the age of 65.

1997: “Meet Wally Sparks” a comedy written by and starring Rodney Dangerfield was released in the United States today.

1997: “Waiting for Guffman” with a screenplay co-authored by Eugene Levy who also co-starred in the comedy along with Bob Balaban was released in the United States today.

1999: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or topics of special interest to Jewish readers including Playing For Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made
by David Halbestram and The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron and the French Twentieth Century by Tony Judt. 

2002: For the second time in a year Tayibe was the target of a terrorist attack which this time Hamas claimed credit.

2004: “Talmud: in the Art of Ben-Zion and Marc Chagall,” an exhibit at the Center Art Gallery at Calvin College that brings together the Biblical work of two of the most important Jewish artists of the 20th Century that features 18 intaglio prints by Ben-Zion and 25 color lithographs by Marc Chagall comes to an end.

2004: Joelle Fishman, the daughter of Jewish immigrants who was born in 1946, “addressed the Communist Party’s conference on the 2004 elections in New York.

2007: Haim Ramon was convicted of “indecent assault” and sentenced to community service.

2007: The Times of London reported that Lord Levy (Michael Levy) the Prime Minister's personal friend and fundraiser, is the second person close to No 10 Downing Street to be questioned by police under suspicion of perverting the course of justice in the ongoing cash-for-honors investigation.

2007: The Jerusalem Post reported that the recently launched Yad Vashem Farsi site has been well received by the target audience. Since the Persian site went on-line last week, some 11,000 hits have been recorded, including 2,242 visits from Iran. That figure is just 1,000 hits short of the total number of visits the Yad Vashem Web site received from Iranians in the whole of 2006

2008: June Muriel Brown “made history by being the first and so far only actress to carry an entire episode single handed in the history of British soap, with a monologue looking back over her past life, dictated to a cassette machine for her husband Jim to listen to in hospital following a stroke.”

2008: Avi Geffen performed at Bush Hall in London.

2008: In Manhattan, the 92nd St Y presents “Praise, Grumble, Schmooze, Lament: The Voices of 21st Century Jewish Poetry.” The program features readings by established and emerging Jewish poets, including Alicia Ostriker, Rodger Kamenetz, Robin Becker, Jacqueline Osherow, Dan Bellm, Patty Seyburn, Philip Terman, Scott Cairns, Jay Michaelson and Richard Chess. 

2008: The Washington Post featured a review of Sacha Baron Cohen the Unauthorized Biography: from Cambridge to Kazakhstan by Kathleen Tracy

2008: It was announced that Neil Diamond will appear at the upcoming Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

2009: The 92nd St Y presents a musical evening featuring the Tokyo String Quartet and Jerusalem born pianist Benjamin Hochman.

2009: The Jewish Federation of Howard County (MD) presents Yom Hadash Community Concert.

2010: Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said today that Israel would allow the ultra-Orthodox community to continue to run their private bus lines segregated by gender, but could not officially recognize the practice on public bus lines. The minister was responding to a petition sent by the Israel Religious Action Center and a women's rights group to the government and to the Egged and Dan transportation companies. Katz declared in his response that Israel does not disapprove of buses which separate between men and women to accommodate the Hardi community, but that segregation could not become institutionalized.

2010: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain by Matthew Carr and 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

2010: The Tenth Herzliya Conference is scheduled to open this afternoon on the Campus of the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in Israel.

2010: The Israel Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee invite the Jewish community to attend “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: A Jewish Night at the Museum” which will include a tour of the “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible” exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum and recitation by Museum President and CEO Daniel Finley of the real story of how the exhibit came to the Museum.

2010: Opening session of The Tenth Herzliya Conference, “Israel‘s primary global policy annual gathering, drawing together Israeli and international participants from the highest levels of government, business, and academia to address pressing national, regional and world strategic issues.”

2010: An exhibition at the Krasdale Gallery in White Plains, NY, entitled “Pages de Guerre” featuring the works of Avigdor Arikha comes to an end.

2010(16th of Sh'vat, 5770): David V. Becker, a pioneer in using radioactive materials to diagnose and treat thyroid disease and an expert on the thyroid damage caused by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986, passed away  at his home in Manhattan. (As reported by Mathew Wald)

2011: Dr. Ron Taffel is scheduled to present a program entitled “Childhood Unbound: Confident Parenting in a World of Change” at the 92nd Street Y in NYC.

2011: “A cornerstone laying ceremony was held for four apartment buildings with a total of 24 homes that are the beginning of the new Jerusalem community of Beit Orot on the Mount of Olives Ridge.”

2011: Rami Feinstein is scheduled to presents a concert featuring songs from his two albums—a combination of rock, folk, and funk- in Jerusalem.

2011: NYC based Israeli choreographers Deganit Shemy and Netta Yerushalmy, are scheduled to perform this evening in an event intended to raise funds for the 1st Contemporary Israeli Dance Festival in New York, coming in June 2011.

2011: Last day for submitting recipes for the 2011 Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off.

2011: The Jerusalem Post reported today that “The Sundance independent film festival over the weekend followed the Oscars and Golden Globes in recognizing the Jewish and Israeli contribution to world cinema by handing out awards to two Israeli filmmakers. The world cinema dramatic screenwriting award went to Erez Kav-El for his film, Restoration. Talya Lavie received an Inaugural Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Film-making award which recognizes and supports emerging independent filmmakers from around the world.

2011: Right-wing activists have exploited Facebook's protocol that prohibits organizations from opening personal profiles to report and block the profiles of several leftist groups, Haaretz learned on today. The move, initiated by activists linked to the far-right leader Baruch Marzel, has thus far led to the blocking of the profile pages of left-wing groups including Machsom Watch, Yesh Gvul, and Anarchists against the Wall.

2011: Grad rockets landed near the cities of Netivot and Ofakim in the western Negev today, causing damage to a car and leading to four people being treated for shock. One rocket hit Netivot, which is 9 miles east of Gaza, and the second exploded in Ofakim, 15 miles from Gaza.

2011: American Sephardi Federation presents an evening with Edwin Black author of “The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust.”

2011: Thanks to the efforts of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation and the British Christian Zionist Movement an appropriate tombstone was placed what had been the unmarked gravesite of Reverend William Henry Hechler, a Protestant clergyman who was an early ally of Herzl and a supporter of the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine.

2012: “Jewish Soldiers in Blue Gray” is scheduled to be shown at the Southwest Florida Jewish Film Festival in Fort Meyers, FL.

2012: “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg” is scheduled to be shown at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Toronto, Canada.

2012: Alan Zweibel will be signing copies of Lunatics, a novel, he co-authored with Dave Barry, following his scheduled interview with Mo Rocca at Buttenwieser Hall at the 92nd Street Y.

2012: Iran's "evil" leaders cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, President Shimon Peres said today, calling the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions the world's single most important issue

2012: Turnout for the Likud party's primary elections was unusually low today. By mid-afternoon, only 14 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballot to elect a new party leader and central committee.

2013(20th of Shevat, 5773): Seventy year old children’s author Diane Wolkstein passed away.(As reported by Paul Vitello)

2013: PBS is scheduled to broadcast a documentary entitled “Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope” which ”tells the remarkable true story of Colonel Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut, and the miniature Torah scroll he carried from the depths of Hell to the heights of Space.”http://www.bethelnj.org/sites/default/files/flyers/IlanRamon-PBS.pdf

2013: “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust: Art in the Service of Humanity” is scheduled to come to an end today.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/nyregion/a-review-of-cartoonists-against-the-holocaust-in-new-rochelle.html?_r=0

2013: Award-winning, bestselling author Edwin Black is scheduled to chronicle the centuries of intersection between Islam and Jewry that led to the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad in 1941 and the ensuing Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust in a major address at Fordham University this evening.  ”Black's presentation is based on his recent bestselling and critically acclaimed book, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust

2013: Rabbi Gil Marks, “noted chef and cookbook author” is scheduled to deliver a lecture “From Schmear To Eternity” at Agudas Achim in Iowa City.

 2013: Composer Phillip Glass turns 75.

2013: The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) was once again the beneficiary of a winter storm today as rain poured down upon the Land of Israel, causing power outages around the country.

2013: Mt Hermon will be closed to the public today as well. Hermon Administration has announced another 20 cm of snow at the bottom of the ski lift. 40 cm have piled up at the bottom of the ski lift since the beginning of the current storm

2014(30tth of Shevat, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

2014(30th of Shevat, 5774): Fifty-two year old humanitarian Anne Heyman passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

2014: Eighty-five year old Mike Flanagan who had an Irishman serving with the British army who participated in the liberation of Bergen-Belson and who “smuggled two Cromwell tanks to the Haganah in 1948” passed away today.

2014: After 20 years, David Stern stepped down as Commissioner of the NBA.

2014: It was reported by Israel’s Channel 2 News tonight that the Israeli government secretly channeled 148 million shekels (over $42 million) to the local city councils that administer settlements across the West Bank in recent years, to “compensate” them for city taxes they did not receive because of a government-imposed settlement-building freeze in 2009-2010.

2014: The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down at least one of two Grad rockets fired at Eilat from the Sinai Peninsula this evening.

2015: The Eden-Tamir Music Center is scheduled to present “Chamber Music for Flute, Bassoon and Piano featuring Esti Rofe, Mauricio Paez and Ana Kaiserman.

2015: In Olney, MD, Shaare Tefila is scheduled to host its Fourth Annual Comedy Night of “Sweet Laughter.

2015(11th of Shevat, 5775): Shabbat Shirah

2015(11th of Shevat, 5775): Eighty-six year old CBS news producer Sandy Socolow passed away today.

2016: Radio Kol Hamusica is scheduled to broadcast “one piece by Israeli composer Emanuel Vahl” this afternoon.

2016: Laura Apelbaum is scheduled to host a panel discussion on “Soviet Jewry: The Movement that United Our Jewish World” in Rockville, MD.

2016(21st of Shevat, 5776): Ninety-two year old historian Elizabeth Eisenstein the author of The Printing Press as an Agent of Change passed away today.

2016: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai edited by Robert Alter, Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary by Richard A. Posner and Thomas Murphy by Roger Rosenblatt.

2017(4th of Tevet, 5777): On the Jewish calendar, yahrzeit of the Moroccan born Sephardic Rabbi, Yisrael Abuchatzeira, known as the “Baba Sali” who is buried in Netivot.

2017: Israeli singer/songwriter Noa Fort is scheduled to perform at the Cornelia Street Café.

2017: In the UK, “Denial” is scheduled to be shown for the last time at JW3.